\ ˈthred How to pronounce thread (audio) \

Definition of thread

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a filament, a group of filaments twisted together, or a filamentous length formed by spinning and twisting short textile fibers into a continuous strand
b : a piece of thread
2a : any of various natural filaments the threads of a spiderweb
b : a slender stream (as of water)
c : a projecting helical rib (as in a fitting or on a pipe) by which parts can be screwed together : screw thread
3 : something continuous or drawn out: such as
a : a line of reasoning or train of thought that connects the parts in a sequence (as of ideas or events) lost the thread of the story
b : a continuing element a thread of melancholy marked all his writing
c : a series of electronic messages (as on a message board or social media website) following a single topic or in response to a single message
4 : a tenuous or feeble support hung on by a thread
5 threads plural : clothing


threaded; threading; threads

Definition of thread (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to pass a thread through the eye of (a needle)
b : to arrange a thread, yarn, or lead-in piece in working position for use in (a machine)
2a(1) : to pass something through in the manner of a thread thread a pipe with wire
(2) : to pass (something, such as a tape, line, or film) into or through something threaded a fresh roll of film into the camera
b : to make one's way through or between threading narrow alleys also : to make one's way usually cautiously through a hazardous situation
3 : to put together on or as if on a thread : string thread beads
4 : to interweave with or as if with threads : intersperse dark hair threaded with silver
5 : to form a screw thread on or in

intransitive verb

1 : weave sense 2 the car threaded through traffic
2 : to form a thread

Other Words from thread


threadless \ ˈthred-​ləs How to pronounce thread (audio) \ adjective
threadlike \ ˈthred-​ˌlīk How to pronounce thread (audio) \ adjective


threader noun

Synonyms for thread

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of thread in a Sentence

Noun A thread was hanging from the hem of her coat. the unwary bug was snared in the sticky threads of the spider's web Verb She threaded her shoelace through the holes. thread film through a camera They had to thread their way through the crowd. Waiters threaded through the crowd. a river that threads through narrow valleys See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Williams, a federal prosecutor and former FBI agent, is the common thread between communities and law enforcement. Briana Alvarado, ABC News, 21 June 2022 When Souley decided to take advantage of a graduate transfer year, there was a common thread that tied his past to his future. Adam Baum, The Enquirer, 18 June 2022 This is a consistent thread of the collection: wanting and not being wanted, not being wanted and feeling fury — fury at the world and other women, sometimes at men, but most of all at oneself. Lynn Steger Strong, Los Angeles Times, 15 June 2022 There is also the loose thread of detective Hwang who may have survived the shooting. Josh St. Clair, Men's Health, 13 June 2022 Media has been allowed to view only three OTA practices, but defensive plays – including interceptions – have been a common thread. Scott Patsko, cleveland, 8 June 2022 In addition to the extra tariffs (taxes), textile chemicals are regulated, wastewater is regulated, labor is regulated, labels and buttons are regulated - as is sewing thread. Rick Helfenbein, Forbes, 6 June 2022 Finance is the thread that runs through every aspect of life. Jonathan Dee, Harper’s Magazine , 25 May 2022 There is one conceivable thread, though, that could draw together all of Phase Four: The Young Avengers. Adam B. Vary, Variety, 15 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Persistent chemicals like the pesticide DDT can thread through the bodies of animals long after they are banned. Ed Yong, The Atlantic, 13 June 2022 As the locations industry evolves rapidly, several cutting-edge concerns thread the proposals. John Hopewell, Variety, 10 May 2022 From cross-court skip passes, to behind-the-back dimes, Williams can thread the needle from the post, but against the Longhorns, the All-Big Ten third-teamer concentrated on exploiting mismatches and putting the ball in the hoop. Akeem Glaspie, The Indianapolis Star, 21 Mar. 2022 The particulars of non-binary identity and bisexuality in a historical era are a delicate needle to thread, but Sebastian never disappoints. Maureen Lee Lenker,, 9 June 2022 Cars must carefully thread the needle under the turnpike overpass with a slight elevation change. USA Today, 6 May 2022 Finding a way to thread the needle between competitive balance while avoiding legal exposure is the next dance for the elites. Michael Casagrande |, al, 17 May 2022 Khosrowshahi is trying to thread a needle here: bringing a badass spin to financial discipline without inviting back the most aggressive parts of Uber’s culture. Lila Maclellan, Quartz, 9 May 2022 Still, some hope that the Fed will be able to thread the proverbial needle and engineer a soft landing. Paul R. La Monica, CNN, 5 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'thread.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of thread


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for thread


Middle English thred, from Old English thrǣd; akin to Old High German drāt wire, Old English thrāwan to cause to twist or turn — more at throw entry 1

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Time Traveler for thread

Time Traveler

The first known use of thread was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near thread



thread angle

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Last Updated

24 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Thread.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for thread


\ ˈthred How to pronounce thread (audio) \

Kids Definition of thread

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a thin fine cord formed by spinning and twisting short fibers into a continuous strand
2 : a thin fine line or strand of something a thread of light
3 : the ridge or groove that winds around a screw
4 : a train of thought that connects the parts of something (as an argument or story)

Other Words from thread

threadlike \ -​ˌlīk \ adjective


threaded; threading

Kids Definition of thread (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to put a thread in working position (as in a needle)
2 : to pass something through another thing Thread the film through the camera.
3 : to make a way through or between He rushes on and on … threading his way with perfect skill between tree-trunks …— C. S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
4 : to put together on a thread : string

More from Merriam-Webster on thread

Nglish: Translation of thread for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of thread for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about thread


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